5 Top Agriculture Scholarships

Agriculture scholarships are provided by the USDA as well as many national food companies.

Each year, the National Corn Growers Association offers five college students $1,000 to fund their agriculture education.

Affording a college education can be difficult. With tuition prices increasing annually, scholarships are an excellent way to supplement your cash flow. Of course, at times it can be challenging to find scholarships that fit your experience, talents and major — especially since many schools don’t offer farming-related programs.

1. Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship

Annie’s Homegrown might be best known for their organic macaroni and cheese or their rabbit-shaped snacks. But the company also offers impressive scholarships for agriculture students. Each year, Annie’s awards their Agriculture Scholarship, which divides $100,000 among students who will have a future impact on sustainable farming.

Applicants are required to submit an essay about the importance of sustainable, organic agriculture.

Amount: First-place winners receive $10,000 towards their tuition, and runners-up receive $2,500

Eligibility Requirements: Full-time undergraduate and graduate students studying sustainable agriculture at an accredited two- or four-year college or graduate school in the U.S.

Application deadline: Dec. 15

2. USDA William Helms Scholarship

The USDA is dedicated to more than experienced agriculturists. Each year, students studying agriculture or a related biology-based subject can apply for a scholarship that’s renewable annually until the winner graduates.

And there’s more to the award than money. Students who win the William Helms Scholarship receive mentoring and a paid internship with the USDA over their summer and winter breaks. Upon graduation, they are also considered for a permanent position within the company.

In order to qualify, students must craft a personal letter that explains why they’ve chosen to major in agriculture and what they hope to do after college.

Amount: $5,000 renewable annually until the winner graduates

Eligibility Requirements: Any student studying agriculture or a related biology-based subject with a GPA of at least 2.5

Application deadline: March 1

3. NCGA Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship

Each year, the National Corn Growers Association offers five college students scholarships to fund their agriculture education. Along with the prize money and recognition at the annual awards banquet, winners also receive tickets to the NCGA Commodity Classic in Nashville, with all transportation and lodging fees covered. Attending the Classic allows students to learn about the agriculture industry and see its professionals at work.

Applicants for the NCGA Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship don’t need to be pursuing a corn-related career, though. Majoring in any agriculture related field, including business or viticulture, is allowed. Applicants must write a 500 word essay on why they wish to pursue an agricultural career.

Amount: $1,000

Eligibility Requirements: Must be at least a college sophomore enrolled in a two- or four-year program majoring in any agriculture related field, including business or viticulture

Application deadline: December 9

4. CHS Scholarship

Missing a scholarship’s deadline can be the most frustrating part of the application process. Luckily, the CHS Foundation offers scholarships throughout the year. Students can apply for one of three different deadlines, and the awards are plentiful as well.

CHS offers two-year scholarship programs, for students in a two-year college program, and four-year scholarship programs, for those in four-year university farming programs. CHS also offers 50 high school students scholarships worth $1,000, however, they must have in interest in pursuing a career in agriculture.

Amount: $1,000 award that’s renewable until graduation and members of farming clubs on campus are eligible for an additional $1,000

Eligibility Requirements: Varies depending on specific scholarship

Application deadline: April 1

5. National Holstein Women’s Scholarship

Agriculture is a field traditionally dominated by men. Yet the National Holstein Women’s Scholarship Organization hopes to change this fact. Formed in 1980, the organization has dedicated over 20 years to educating young women on farming practices and technology. NHWSO has awarded over $157,000 and 139 scholarships in its history.

Originally available only to female students, the scholarship is now open to all agriculture students. It’s recommended that applicants become a member of the NHWSO before applying. Not only will their applications receive preferential treatment, but students will also be updated on the scholarship judging process.

Amount: Varies

Eligibility Requirements: Should be a member of the NHWSO

Application deadline: February 1

Quick Tips

  • If you’re from a farming family, don’t forget that the chores you do on a daily basis count as work experience. Students with actual farming experience should use this to their advantage.
  • Make your essay connect with readers. No matter what your essay prompt is, try to include something that everyone can relate with and feel connected to. After all, agriculture produces food, and everyone has to eat, right?
  • Don’t forget to list your awards and accomplishments. Many scholarship applications give you the option to submit an awards resume, so take advantage of that opportunity!

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